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The Rehearsal: A Novel (Reagan Arthur Books) Paperback – August 24, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
We meet Victoria and Isolde, two sisters who attend a private girls school, Abbey Grange. A short distance away is the Drama Institute. These two establishments collide when an affair between Victoria and her teacher, Mr. Saladin, comes to light. The Drama Institute takes on this scandal and works it into their year-end performance production.
The book deals with the reactions of students to the shocking affair between Victoria and Mr. Saladin. Many of the students share their thoughts with the saxophone teacher who tutors many of them. The saxophone teacher, in my humble opinion, was the most outstanding character in this book. Her dry and witty humor, outspoken remarks, her almost cruel conversations and observations were simply hilarious and made her very life-like and believable.
As for the other characters, they seemed almost cardboard in comparison to the saxophone tutor who stole the entire show -- for me.
The book takes place within a year's time. The chapters read quickly and are headed by days of the week and/or month. The book revolves around the students reactions, thoughts, and the consequences of the affair.
Ms. Catton was in her early 20's when she wrote this book, which was written as her master's thesis for creative writing! This book was honored by being shortlisted for the 2009 Guardian First Book Award. Ms. Catton's writing skills have much to offer to the literary world.
This book is well written and reads in a very different and interesting fashion. Real life and the drama of the theater clash together. However, this book was hard for me to read and I felt as if I were plodding through. I wanted to enjoy it much more than I did, but it just wasn't my cuppa.
The basis for the story is a scandal at a school involving a music teacher, Mr Saladin, and Victoria, the elder sister of one of the main characters, Isolde. This impact of this event is viewed both from the point of view of the girls at the school, and also as the basis for an end of year drama production by the local drama Institute. The two stories start separately, but inevitably mesh as the book progresses. The drama school bit is arguably a bit of a stretched conceit, but this is forgivable as the author explores the concepts of reality and performance. But this is just one of the aspects of this book.
Was the errant Mr Saladin any worse than the dark and mysterious "saxophone teacher" whose attempts to control and interfere with her charges appears at times more sinister than Mr Saladin's sexual urges. But her habit of speaking exactly what she thinks is hilarious at times. And the author's psychological insights into the fears of teenagers growing up are beautifully observed. And how does the media (in this case a play) reflect reality - and does reality exist - and how much of it is performance (as Shakespeare once noted), and so much more....
There's dark humour aplenty mixed with the fears and excitement of growing up.Read more ›
The story takes place between three neighboring groups of students. The Drama Institute is a drama college for aspiring actors, and the girls' high school, Abbey Grange, is an elite private school. The music school rounds out the settings of this novel. The sax teacher, a female of unknown identity, is often seen in shadow or startling light. Speaking of identity, only first or last names are identified, all except for one replacement teacher, Jean Critchley, who came on board when music teacher Mr. Saladin was let go. He had a scandalous affair with Victoria, one of the girls from Abbey Grange. This affair is the centerpiece story, from which all other stories, themes, and actions unfold. The abbreviated names personify the characters and their motivations in shadow for much of the story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was fantastic. The topic of a student-teacher relationship can easily be a trite one, but Catton managed to present a different angle. Read morePublished 17 days ago by Kate McGuirk
Tranquil, contemplative, mysterious, slightly vague point of view, weaving in and out of threads slightly connected by one saxophone teacher, some threads woven on the outskirts,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. Oxford
Wonderful. Unique style, beautiful attention to detail. Enchanting.Published 3 months ago by Lindsay Carter
Read this after 'The Luminaries' and the stories and writing styles are very different.
The saxophone teacher is an intriguing character.
Maybe my expectations for this, Catton's first novel, were too high after loving her second novel, The Luminaries. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Richard Bon
I loved "The Luminaries," and I tried to read this but I just can't. I'll keep an eye on Catton, but for now I'm done. On to something more rewarding.Published 10 months ago by Liz in Arizona
Finishing this novel has left me feeling more strange about how I felt about it than I have felt in a long while. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Markus
Beautifully written at times, but then pretentiously abstract at others. I found myself wondering, "Is this really happening in the characters' lives? Is it imagined? Read morePublished 14 months ago by Folympia